A 26-year-old homeless woman in New Hampshire was arrested this week after allegedly giving birth to her son in the woods on Christmas, abandoning the child, and then intentionally misleading authorities regarding her whereabouts.
Alexandra Eckersley, the adopted daughter of first-ballot Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Eckersley, was taken into custody on Monday and charged with felony reckless conduct, second-degree assault/extreme indifference, endangering the welfare of a child, and falsifying physical evidence, authorities announced.
According to a press release from the Manchester Police Department, officers at approximately 12:40 a.m. on Dec. 26 responded to the West Side Arena regarding a 911 call from a woman — later identified as Eckersley — who had just given birth to a child in the woods in the surrounding area. The temperature in the area was below 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Manchester Police and Fire and personnel with American Medical Response were dispatched to the area where they made contact with Eckersley, who told them where they should search for the child. However, authorities were unable to locate the child, police said.
“After nearly an hour, the mother revealed the true location of the baby and led officers to the area,” the release states. “There, officers located the baby who was treated by EMT’s and transported to a local hospital for treatment.”
According to a report from Manchester ABC affiliate WMUR-TV, authorities found the baby in the dark just off of a footpath and was described by first responders as “moving, not crying, and exposed.” The child was also reportedly naked in temperatures that were approximately 15 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit.
“Had we not collectively located that little boy when we did and rendered the first aid that was rendered, I’m quite confident the child probably would have died in that tent,” said Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg said, according to a report from CBS News.
Eckersley told EMTs that she “had no idea she was pregnant and that she felt she had to use the bathroom,” Boston Fox affiliate WFXT reported.
Detectives reportedly then asked Eckersley why she decided to leave the baby in the tent.
“What do they tell you when a plane goes down? Save yourself first,” she reportedly responded.
Authorities also reportedly said that Eckersley, who suffers from mental illness, appeared to be under the influence of drugs at the time of questioning. She reportedly misdirected authorities because she was afraid of losing her tent.
Chief Aldenberg said this case was particularly egregious because the city and the department offer services to help people similar situations.
“If you choose to live in the woods, this city, this police department, many city departments, do outreach at these camps daily, seven days a week. So if you choose to in the woods and you refuse our outreach, you refuse services, so be it, that’s your decision as an individual,” he reportedly told CBS. “But you don’t get to do this to a child. I don’t care what excuses I’m undoubtedly going to hear. I’m going to hear mental health, I’m going to hear substance abuse, I’m going to hear alcohol abuse, whatever it may be and I’m always sensitive to that. But when it comes to this, I lose my sensitivity, my compassion for those excuses.”
The child was treated at Catholic Medical Center and his condition is reportedly improving.
[image via Manchester Police Dept.]
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